How Relationships Affect Physical Health

How Relationships Affect Physical Health

Kendra Leroux, Editor

Heart decor strung on all the walls, a rom-com plays on every TV screen, the smell of baked goods fills the air, February is here! This month of love can be a roller coaster of emotions for people across the globe. Some people cope with being single by eating chocolates, while others in relationships go on dates with their partners. Either way, Valentine’s Day is an impactful holiday, so it is important to understand how it truly affects people emotionally and physically. 

Connecting with people is very special, and can even help your physical health. On Valentine’s day, many couples cuddle, hold hands, kiss, etc. which signals to your brain to release dopamine, boost serotonin levels, and produce hormones called oxytocin to create the emotions of love and happiness. These feelings can help to reduce stress and lead to a longer life shown when married couples normally live longer than unmarried ones. However, if the relationship is toxic the opposite effects can occur creating issues such as, “increase the risk of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation, while positive interactions reduce the risk of these issues,” according to Mental health statistics: relationships and community. Even just fighting with a loved one has the ability to negatively affect wound healing, blood levels, and alter body chemistry. If a marriage becomes aggressive and creates a feeling of depression and even leads to higher fat storage and heart disease in the future. 

Of course, single people have their ups and downs as well. In fact, some really serious health issues can be amplified just by not being in a relationship. Studies discussed in Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy, “including development and progression of cardiovascular disease, recurrent myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis, autonomic dysregulation, high blood pressure, cancer and delayed cancer recovery, and slower wound healing (Ertel, Glymour, and Berkman 2009; Everson-Rose and Lewis 2005; Robles and Kiecolt-Glaser 2003; Uchino 2006).” Even so, when you are single stress can actually be reduced because you do not have to deal with the pressures of relationships. 

To find out more about toxic relationships to prevent negative physical effects, read Hannah Dowabily’s article titled Toxic Relationships: What are they, and what are the signs?